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  • Writer's pictureKirsten Kyllingstad

Marriage is Like Having a Scene Partner

My husband and I are both actors. We actually met in a show. It’s a funny story. But how we met isn’t really the point for this blog post. Maybe another time. Anyway, we have been in shows together, we have taken acting classes together, and we have talked about marriage in general, and what makes one successful.

When you are acting on stage, the best actor will not make the scene about themselves. You can tell an actor who is hungry for attention and wants the spotlight. They are generally less interesting to watch as they try to act their heart out for your applause and accolades. Instead, a seasoned actor will make the scene about the other person. They are always more captivating to watch. A person who is committed to the scene and the other person in the scene with them. It isn’t about them, the actor. It is about the other characters, the story, the meaning and intent. That is an actor you want to watch. They aren’t selfish. They are giving. They are interested in the other person. They are genuine. They listen. They make eye contact. They aren’t in it just for the celebrity.

But it is also a careful balance. The actor must first take care of themselves in the scene. Do they have everything they need to do their job effectively and to the best of their ability? Do they have the tools? Do they have their props? Do they have space to be creative? Have they had time to rest and prepare? Are they safe? An actor must make sure they are taken care of first and foremost, and then, then, they focus on their partner. (This might sound a little familiar here. Check out my blog post from last month for more in depth thoughts about this.)

Marriage is the same. You absolutely must take care of your own well-being first. Then be a good partner. Listen. Make eye contact. Work as a team. However, this must be a two-way street! You cannot spend all your time focusing on the other person and have them spend their time also focusing on themselves. Each takes care of their basic needs. Then each works to help make life nice and easy for the other. Life isn’t always nice and easy, but we do what we can for the other to make sure their needs are being met. Do they feel important to you? Do they feel special? Do they feel supported? Do they feel heard? Do they feel safe? Do they feel loved? Do they feel like a part of a team?

I hope the answer is yes and I hope you feel the same! If you aren’t sure, why not take a moment to check in and see what you can do to help them feel all those things? If you feel like your answer is no, maybe take a moment and let your partner know how you can feel those things more from them. We all have times where we are fairly successful. And we all have times where we could stand to do a little more work. Where are you right now? I wish you much success in your marriage or partnership!

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